A Tribute to a Great Servant Leader

Mayor Ray Smith

He’s tall, but not gigantic in size. However, anyone who knows Ray Smith, Prosper’s mayor for almost the past twelve years, knows he is a giant of a man with a wonderfully disarming sense of humor. His true servant leadership has been the heart of the explosive growth of the Town of Prosper and he has been a steady and conscientious leader. Prosper could not have asked for a better person to guide its growth and keep the community expanding while becoming an outstandingly positive and beautiful place in which to live and raise children.

Ray’s humility belies his knowledge and experience. An avid Cowboy fan, his father played in the 1960s, Ray was a member of the 1980 Southwest Conference Champion football team. Earning his BBA from Baylor, Ray also serves his community as Market President for Farmers Bank and Trust. He and his wife of over 31 years, Lena, raised three sons and are currently raising two teenage grandsons Jacob and Jackson. This “gentle giant” must have an outstanding ability to multi-task.

Before moving to Prosper in 2005, Ray served the also exploding population of Frisco in the City Council, Economic Development Corporation, Community Development Corporation, Planning and Zoning Board, as a volunteer firefighter, and the Frisco Education Foundation.

Prior to being elected mayor in 2010, Ray was elected President of the Economic Development in 2004 and still serves on the Board of Directors. A member of the 2006 Home Rule Charter Committee, which wrote the charter dictating how the Town of Prosper is governed. The Town Council benefitted from his service for 3 years prior to his becoming mayor. In 2016, the mayor was elected to serve on the North Central Texas Council of Governments Executive Council, of which he was elected President in 2020. Besides currently being the chair of the Collin College Foundation Board of Directors, he is also a member of the Meals on Wheels of Collin County Board of Advisors. You have to wonder how he balances so much responsibility that even includes as an alternate member of the Regional Transportation Council.

The Town of Prosper limits mayors to 12 years, and in May of 2022, Mayor Smith will be stepping down. When asked what he enjoyed the most about his tenure, Ray named a few things, including figuring out all the different situations that arose while working as a team with the Town Council. While remaining humble, you can still see the pride he has in what has been accomplished. One of his main goals were to make sure that there was plenty of green space and that not all neighborhoods would be surrounded by high walls. The downtown area has been improved dramatically under his leadership and, of course new schools and a fantastic football stadium that would make any “Friday Night Lights” fan envious. Ray enjoyed working with the contractors such as Jim Williams and Chris Martin among others.

Anyone residing in Prosper for several years can only imagine how much of an undertaking the management of the growth has been. As Ray began his initial term in 2010, the population of Prosper was 9423. By 2020 it had more than tripled in size and is currently over 33,000. And if you were a new resident that received a welcoming letter, Ray personally signed them all. That is the signature of a great leader.

Just one example of accolades. From Mary Ann Moon, Executive Director, Prosper Economic Development Corporation:

“As an Economic Developer having worked with numerous communities and elected officials, it has been, to steal an adjective from Ray Smith, a tremendous experience to serve with and work for him. Mayor Smith epitomizes the definition of servant. He possesses no hidden agendas, ego, or desire for political gain. Ray’s focus is on what is best for Prosper’s residents. Every decision he makes is done with thoughtful consideration and analysis of long-term implications for the community. He does all of this with a killer sense of humor and a positive attitude.

His love for his family, combined with a deep abiding faith and genuine regard for others, has made him an incredibly effective Mayor. Ray has left a solid foundation upon which others may build as his tenure has had a profound and positive impact on our Town. His leadership will be missed.”

An evening of tribute will be held April 7th, 6:00 pm at the Omni Hotel in Frisco. For tickets or information, email Mark your calendars!

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